Some Nigerians have no choice but to use charcoal stoves as kerosene price skyrockets

Nigerians want the government to make all cooking energy sources affordable and available for the masses.

Patronage of charcoal is soaring in markets [Science Photo Library]

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent, who conducted a market survey on charcoal on Tuesday in Enugu, observed that many people now prefer charcoal for cooking due to its affordable price.

A charcoal seller in Garki Market, Grace Umeh, said that although the price of charcoal had risen from ₦5,000 to ₦8,000 per sack; the patronage had continued to soar.

Umeh said the increase in patronage was because an average family of five could use up to 20 litres of kerosene in a month for their cooking.

"So, the family spends over ₦20,000 on kerosene in a month. On the other hand, a bag of charcoal will last for two months, no matter the pressure of use, for the same size of family," she said.

Another seller at Mayor Market, Oby Okafor, said most families were buying the commodity in large quantities due to the high cost of kerosene and other energy sources.

"We have continued to experience good and profitable business for some time now in this charcoal business," Okafor said.

Christiana Ozor, a charcoal dealer at Achara Layout, said that due to increase in patronage, she now sells more than two bags a day.

Some buyers said using the charcoal for cooking had saved them a lot of money.

Gilbert Nnamdi, a father of four, said the new charcoal stove introduced to him by his friend had helped him to reduce the amount he spent on kerosene.

"With only ₦200 charcoal, my wife can cook a pot of soup and a pot of rice for the family no matter the quantity of the food. This new charcoal stove does not take time to catch fire and does not bring out smoke while cooking with it," he said.

Another charcoal user, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that she had been using charcoal since the increase in the price of kerosene.

"I stopped using kerosene when the price increased to ₦900 and because I am afraid of using cooking gas, I quickly opted for charcoal as a means of energy cooking source," she said.

Food vendors are not left out in the rush for charcoal because they can no longer afford the prices of kerosene and cooking gas.

A restaurant owner, Ijeoma Dim, explained that the high costs of kerosene and cooking gas had given charcoal a sudden prominence.

Ofor Anyawu added that charcoal sellers now made brisk business due to the price increase of other cooking energy sources.

Anyawu called on government to make all cooking energy sources affordable and available for the masses, especially in the face of economic challenge in the country.

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